Rethinking the Rationales for Funding and Governance
New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Aldo Geuna, Ammon J. Salter and W. Edward Steinmueller
Chapter 7: Research Productivity and the Allocation of Resources in Publicly Funded Research Programmes
Fabrizio Cesaroni and Alfonso Gambardella* 1 INTRODUCTION It is widely recognized that in recent years, many universities and other public research laboratories have generally been promoting eﬀorts aimed at the exploitation of research results and their competencies (for the European case, see European Commission 1996). To this end, many diﬀerent strategies have been implemented – for example, science parks, research consortia, licences, collaborations, spinoﬀ companies and so on. In general terms, a change can be seen in the missions of public research centres towards more entrepreneurial activities (Etzkowitz et al. 1998). One of the factors that have boosted this trend is the decrease and change in funding sources for universities and other public research centres (Geuna 2001). None the less, the largest share of research funding to these organizations still comes from publicly funded research programmes, which allocate available resources among research groups according to speciﬁc objectives and goals – to achieve scientiﬁc excellence in speciﬁc ﬁelds, to create a critical mass of knowledge and research competency in speciﬁc areas, to promote the industrial transferability of research and so on. The increasing budget constraints that governments in developed countries are facing in recent years have made this process of resource allocation to science increasingly questionable. Apart from the proportion of the public budget devoted to activities not directly linked to countries’ economic performance and ﬁrms’ proﬁtability and productivity, what is mostly discussed is the possibility that institutional mechanisms of resource allocations have a direct impact...
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